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Getting Paid on Flat Rate Episode 3

Published on September 23, 2014 under Video

Today on the Humble Mechanic automotive podcast, we are talking about Flat Rate. This is the system on which technicians get paid, and customers get charged. There are many in the industry that have strong opinions about Flat Rate. Today we look at several aspects of this system.

  • Why Flat Rate is used
  • How Flat Rate works
  • Where do the times come from, what is “book time”
  • How to win at Flat Rate
  • How mechanics cheat Flat Rate
  • A Better system?
  • Does Flat Rate make you a better tech

There is one thing that I forgot to mention in the video. That is about protecting a customer from slow techs. Having a standard time will prevent a tech from “milking the clock”. That means if you get a slow tech you will not have to pay more just because they are slow.

I would love to hear your thoughts on Flat Rate, or any thing regarding getting paid as a mechanic, or being charged as a customer. Also, thank you for the feedback. One last thing, there is a water mark on the video. I am testing out new video editing software. Sorry about that. I don’t mind spending the money, but I want to be sure I get a good product that does what I need.

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12 Comments

  1. Brandon R

    I have one question that didn’t come up in your video. How does overtime work? I’m a factory tech who is paid hourly so anything over 8 hours is time and a half. Saturday is also always time and a half and Sunday is double time. Just curious how you guys handle OT?

    1. Charles

      Great question Brandon,
      Basically there is no overtime. Flat Rate is basically a commission pay. We only “punch the clock” to prove that we were there.

      Guys have brought up OT before. I guess if it became an issue, dealers would just kick you out at 40. They would probably run 2 shifts to fill the gaps.

      As a flat rate tech, I hear that and think, NO WAY! Many times the week is made in the last 10 or so hours of the week. That could be due to waiting on parts, or just a busy Saturday.

      Great question man, thank you for bringing that up.

  2. Chris

    Something to think about with regard to winning at flat rate is training. Everyone wants to make more money but many techs don’t take advantage of training that is available to them. Understanding what you are working on and how it is supposed to function is another common neglect. How do you diagnose a fault or a system if you don’t understand how it is designed to function? Reading the system overview or description and operation will go a long way to fixing it the first time.

    This is a topic that I am passionate about. I have spent a lot of time trying to pass on what I have learned over 26 years getting my hands dirty.

    1. Charles

      Extremely good point Chris! I must say that this is an area that I can be weak in.

      I think we as dealer techs rely on “instructor training” too much. I hear all the time “I didn’t go to that class”. What I rarely hear is “there is a self study program about that”.

      You might be able to wing it, but I agree that not understanding a system makes it tough to properly diagnose.

      It makes me feel like there is more parts slapping going on than I really want to believe.

  3. Managing Money as a Mechanic, Podcast Episode 26 | Humble Mechanic

    […] This type of information is very much lacking in automotive training. We are told that it is important, but no one goes into detail about HOW to manage it. I have seen a lot of guys get stuck financially, and I don’t want that to happen to you. BTW I am NOT NOT NOT a financial adviser. This is just some of the things that I do. This is also not a flat rate show. You can see that at “Getting Paid on Flat Rate”. […]

  4. Will

    Regarding your question about customer service being a waste of time. I firmly believe theres nothing wrong with taking a few moments to discuss with a customer about what kind of repairs were done, the process of condemning a part, etc. Transversely, I also believe that sometimes it is just a waste of time. I.e. a customer trying to get a free consultation because they don’t feel they should have to pay a diagnosis. Being you and I and other technicians alike get paid per job like you said, I find it personally offensive when customers come to the dealership only looking for free stuff. That being said, I’m more than willing to sit and discuss with a customer who genuinely is interested in the care of their vehicle.

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